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  1. #1
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    Getting into cycling..NY area

    Thinking about getting into cycling. I'd like a road bike to ride around the beautiful areas of my new home - Clifton Park, NY. I have been running around the area 5-8 mi every session and I'm thinking that cycling may deter some of the wear and tear on my body instead of running..

    With that said, I have been looking at road bikes and have a few ideas in mind:

    I don't care about the latest and greatest, so a last year's model that provides somewhat of a discount would be great.

    I'd prefer a $1500 2014 model that's been marked down to say $1000 instead of getting a 'lesser' 2015 model at msrp.

    I realize fit is important, so what would be a good LBS to check out? I walked into Elevate Cycles, and it didn't quite jive with me - seemed a little too yuppie with over-marked, over-priced bicycles and not a lot of selection.. there was more of a Tour de Clifton/France feel there that I'm not quite ready for or ready to open my wallet up for.

    I'd prefer aluminum - I'm not racing and from what I hear carbon seems like a bad choice if you're not a super star athlete.

    I'd prefer better / higher quality components that are going to go further as opposed to the 'latest and greatest' reduced weight frame, etc. If I'm doing this for fitness and well being wouldn't a slightly heavier bike make me push more anyhow but I'd appreciate the quality of good components?

    I'd love to be able to order a discounted bike via the 'net but without knowing fit, size, etc it makes that a bit more difficult.

    What could / should be a realistic budget for a decent, quality road bike and gear. Should I expect +$500 for gear and accessories to my $1000 discounted from last year bicycle? Is this an unrealistic number for both items to get from a LBS? Am I going to need a car rack to drive the new bike back home from the store?

    What budget / bike / bike store should I be looking at? Are my expectations reasonable or unreasonable?

    Should I try/ask to ride other's bicycles or take for a spin to get an idea of what feels good or not?

    I'm 6'1''-6'1.5'' depending on who is measuring, 32'' inseam, longer torso than legs I'd say, 220lbs, (ex-highschool athlete, ex-crossfit athlete, ex-swimmer)

    Also, I wear a 11.5'' wide for running shoes.. I hope that clip shoes come in wides?


    Thank you finally, for entertaining my long list of ideas however incorrect they might be

  2. #2
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    no clue how to answer your question, but my girlfriend is from Clifton park! haha

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jarrettsin's Avatar
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    LBS will discount "last years model" but there not dropping the price by a 1/3 from $1500 to $1000 IMHO that's to much to expect.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrettsin View Post
    LBS will discount "last years model" but there not dropping the price by a 1/3 from $1500 to $1000 IMHO that's to much to expect.
    Agree with this.

    Aluminum is a good starting point for a frame material, you might not see Shimano Ultegra or 105 or SRAM/Campy equivalent on aluminum as they might only put these upper levels on carbon. Shimano Sora and Tiagra are decent groups as well. Only way to know what's available is to browse the local shops and see what's offered.

    Browsing the shops will also give you a feel for the kind of staff and service you desire and outside of knowing exactly what frame size you need, is the only option outside of mail order.

    I think you should definitely be looking at a road bike, as opposed to a hybrid or comfort, so drop handle bars. For your area I'd want a triple front chainring bike to get me up the hills. Other options in bikes would be a cross bike that would accept (and come with) wide tires that allows you to ride dirt and gravel roads, or the Erie Canal trail as example. Most road bikes only allow up to a 25mm wide tire due to brake and chainstay clearance issues, which limits use to paved roads and paths. Some cross/gravel and all touring bikes would also allow use of fenders and racks, which makes them easier to use for commuting, etc... you can always throw on narrow tires for faster road rides as well.

    Yes you can get 11.5 shoes in wide. I'm that size, with EEEE width and am comfortable with the wide version of Shimano M087 and R087 shoes. Sidi, Specialized and Pearly Izumi also make wide shoes.

    Yes expect to take the bike for a spin. Most LBS's allow this as well as the better ones doing a fitting.

    Need for a car rack is dependent on the type of car. If a small wagon or SUV/minivan, the bike will fit in the back. A Kia commuting sedan with no ability to fold down the rear set to expand the trunk, will mean you need a trunk rack or hitch rack (and trailer hitch). Trunk racks are well made do the job.

    Price for all this ?. $1200 bike, $75 shoes, $50 + for clipless pedals (SPD style), helmet, gloves, rear seat bag with - 2 tubes, bike tool, tire levers, etc... then a small bike pump, computer odometer, floor pump, bike shorts, gloves, plus car rack and Ka-Ching, your credit card just hit the $2,000 limit !.

    Seriously, I once added up the cost of the clothing I was wearing on a winters ride and it was $500. For that one ride. Plus I have multiple pairs of shorts, jerseys, gloves, socks, tights winter and spring jackets, head covers, etc.... plus tools etc.... and it's considered a cheap hobby, compared to boating or tennis or golf....
    Last edited by Steve B.; 06-13-15 at 03:18 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jim Kukula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topslop1 View Post
    If I'm doing this for fitness and well being wouldn't a slightly heavier bike make me push more anyhow but I'd appreciate the quality of good components?
    This is a nice point. I have an expedition touring bike. It weighs 40 pounds! It is very comfortable to ride, very durable, and can carry lots of luggage. It is not very fast!

    The other day a rider came up from behind me - 99% of the time I am getting passed on the road! Pretty much the only folks I pass are little kids riding in circles at the end of their driveway! This fellow had a very nice road bike. We chatted a bit and I mentioned that maybe after I lose 30 pounds of excess blubber, maybe I will buy a lighter bike. He said, what's the point? Who cares how fast you go?

    Well, it is nice to be able to cover longer distances in a fixed time, e.g. to get to the motel before dark or whatever.

    Anyway, if you are new to biking, "road bike" pretty much means racing bike, which is biased toward speed above comfort or durability or much else.

    You might consider a touring bike, like a Surly Long Haul Trucker, or poke around other bikes in the same zone. There really is a lot of great territory to explore up around Albany. The whole Adirondack Park!

    It might even make sense to get a used bike to start with. Very difficult to know exactly what you want or need if you haven't been biking a fair amount. Not bad to put the big money into your second bike, and let the first bike be a learning lesson... good enough for maybe two years.

  6. #6
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    The OP should have joined cycling 15 years ago when 1K did buy a very good road bike with quality components. Today, $1,000 USD buys a decent frame with low end components. The sweet bikes today start at $1,800.00 and go up real quick. There's nothing wrong with buying low end components and they are simply replaced over a number of years. Chances are, this might not be your sport and losing 1K isn't a total loss.

    If it is your sport, you'll be buying a new bicycle in two years or less anyway.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kukula View Post
    This is a nice point. I have an expedition touring bike. It weighs 40 pounds! It is very comfortable to ride, very durable, and can carry lots of luggage. It is not very fast!

    You might consider a touring bike, like a Surly Long Haul Trucker, or poke around other bikes in the same zone. There really is a lot of great territory to explore up around Albany. The whole Adirondack Park!

    It might even make sense to get a used bike to start with. Very difficult to know exactly what you want or need if you haven't been biking a fair amount. Not bad to put the big money into your second bike, and let the first bike be a learning lesson... good enough for maybe two years.
    Good advice. There's a thread on the touring section asking whether full blown touring bikes are RIP. I think such a bike, or a cyclocross bike that allows a rear rack and has a triple crank, is about as perfect a bike as you can get, due to the versatility it allows. Easy enough to get a 2nd set of wheels, skinny tires, different cassette and use it as a go faster road bike. Or swap to 36mm knobbies and ride the dirt.

    If if you want the carbon fiber go fast bike, then down the road you'll have a better feel and increased knowledge as to what exactly you want. First bike ?, go practical.

  8. #8
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    After reading this all and doing a little more research I think 'endurance' road bike is probably a better target / better blend? I might just put my pennies into the jar, keep running this summer on foot, and pick up a bike around fall when I have a little more money to work with. You have all been extremely helpful, and a wealth of information.. thank you.

  9. #9
    Senior Member blacknbluebikes's Avatar
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    1. trust your instincts on the "lesser wear & tear" versus running. get all the cardio without the impact (admittedly biased crowd here, tho). not as convenient as running, but cycling is better, just below swimming and rowing (IMO).
    2. you seem to be in a patient mode, so spend some time on Ebay and Bicyclebluebook. research what brands and models you like (yes, endurance mods are generally a great choice). set ebay alerts to automatically notify you when things show up that match your interest. give it a few weeks.
    3. you're probably a 58 frame, maybe a 56. lots of info on web about fit. play around with the app on the competitive cyclist store site, not perfect, but food for thought. Bike Fit Calculator | Find Your Bike Size | Competitive Cyclist
    4. you can probably find a much much better bike for the same money you're talking about when you get your hunting skills calibrated. for example, my "rescue pet" endurance bike listed for $6700 new, I bought it 7 years old for $1500 plus shipping. yes, old maybe, but I'm sure my performance will never exceed its capacities; when new, it was a professional-grade bike.
    5. if you do develop the serious biking bug (and if you're running an hour a day, you're a likely candidate), don't buy "low" on your first bike. you probably don't wear $38 runnning shoes, do ya? buy a bike that you LOVE to hop on every time.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
    1. trust your instincts on the "lesser wear & tear" versus running. get all the cardio without the impact (admittedly biased crowd here, tho). not as convenient as running, but cycling is better, just below swimming and rowing (IMO).
    2. you seem to be in a patient mode, so spend some time on Ebay and Bicyclebluebook. research what brands and models you like (yes, endurance mods are generally a great choice). set ebay alerts to automatically notify you when things show up that match your interest. give it a few weeks.
    3. you're probably a 58 frame, maybe a 56. lots of info on web about fit. play around with the app on the competitive cyclist store site, not perfect, but food for thought. Bike Fit Calculator | Find Your Bike Size | Competitive Cyclist
    4. you can probably find a much much better bike for the same money you're talking about when you get your hunting skills calibrated. for example, my "rescue pet" endurance bike listed for $6700 new, I bought it 7 years old for $1500 plus shipping. yes, old maybe, but I'm sure my performance will never exceed its capacities; when new, it was a professional-grade bike.
    5. if you do develop the serious biking bug (and if you're running an hour a day, you're a likely candidate), don't buy "low" on your first bike. you probably don't wear $38 runnning shoes, do ya? buy a bike that you LOVE to hop on every time.
    Would you say then that a Cervelo of some kind from 2007-2008 at a $1k price point instead of a 2015 giant defy 1 would be a better bang for buck or bargain? Higher quality components versus newer tech / improvement of lower end components? I'll break out the tape measure for the fit calculator which should get me.. 90% of the way there? Past that - tweaks on my own with seat adjustment and cleat adjustment should work? I have a little trouble buying the idea that one can-not ride well without a $300 bike fit.. My guess is that if you're 90% of the way there you'll get an extra 5-6% efficiency out of paying for a bike fit?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jim Kukula's Avatar
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    No idea about those bikes. But another game you can use to mess with the fit is to play with the stem. Generally the key dimension for getting the right size bike is the top tube length, or the virtual top tube length... what it would have been were the top tube horizontal. You can raise and lower the saddle easily enough, but moving the handlebars closer or further is a lot trickier. Playing with the stem works to some extent, but of course that affects steering too so you don't want to push it too far.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kukula View Post
    No idea about those bikes. But another game you can use to mess with the fit is to play with the stem. Generally the key dimension for getting the right size bike is the top tube length, or the virtual top tube length... what it would have been were the top tube horizontal. You can raise and lower the saddle easily enough, but moving the handlebars closer or further is a lot trickier. Playing with the stem works to some extent, but of course that affects steering too so you don't want to push it too far.
    I'll keep that in mind when looking. I'm thinking the best thing to do would be to try to ride a host of different bikes or as many as I could find before taking the plunge. It's almost like you want to join a cycling group in the area, ride/try a bunch of bikes (that admittedly don't belong to you) , THEN own a bicycle to ride with the cycling group.

  13. #13
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I have very wide feet, and I've finally realized that buying shoes a size too big is best for me.

    If you are riding for fun and fitness, you want the lightest bike possible. The heavier the bike, the more it punishes you for increasing your effort beyond a certain level. Of course, budget and other practical concerns will limit it. Your budget for your bike is more than adequate.

    I don't often wear cycling specific clothing except for helmet, gloves and shoes. The shoes aren't even that important. Sure, I appreciate the advantages of shorts, jerseys, etc., but they are low on the list of things to budget. I recommend learning how to repair your bike yourself, so an investment in tools will pay off. Carry tools to fix a flat and adjust your seat and handlebars. You need a pump and a spare tube. Even if you don't plan to ride at night, a headlight and a tail light are very good to have. Also, get a bell. Seriously. I have countless bikes, and every bike has a bell.

    Don't think too much about frame material. Each material has its pluses and minuses. And don't forget to consider steel. Steel is an excellent frame material. Fit and ride are the most important.

    Whatever bike you have your eye on, find out what is the widest tires it can accept. A lot of racing-oriented bikes accept only 25 mm tires, for no good reason, in my opinion. You might want tires wider than that some day. I like 28 or 32 mm tires. But it is a matter of preference.

    As @Jarrettsin says, a 1/3 discount is NOT going to happen. Margins on bicycles are thin. Shops make the money on tires, accessories, clothing, and repair.

    Don't worry too much about which bike to buy. In time, you will observe how you ride, how often you ride, where you like to ride, and you might find you didn't pick the perfect bike. Time to buy a new one. And at that point, you might have accumulated enough expertise to buy a used bike that is good for you. You can save a ton of money that way.
    I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter. --Blaise Pascal

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  14. #14
    Senior Member blacknbluebikes's Avatar
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    doesn't matter what a poor-fitting bike costs or how it's appointed, you won't like it in the long run.
    buy a bike, new or used, that you think is "really what I want right now." THAT'S the right bike, don't rush it.
    look, listen, read, research until you're "pretty damned sure" - probably as close as anyone gets (there will always be a tiny bit of hesitation).
    in the meantime, ride whatever you can get your hands on, a lot. riding whatever bike you can is the best way to form opinions on what you care about most.

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